Airlines

Passenger-friendly innovations in skies now – and on the horizon

(Airbus_A320 Family Airspace interior. Courtesy Airbus)

For CNBC this week, I put together some of the most passenger-friendly, or unusual, finalists vying for this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, which are set to be announced April 10 and often described as “the Oscars of the aviation industry.”

One of the more unusual and intriuging ideas on the list is something called a ‘Durinal,’ by Zodia Aerospace.

 

 

You know how it is: after meals and just before landing, bathroom lines get long and the lav-to-passenger ratio in the economy cabin on airplanes just seems wrong. Worse, when lavs get busy, there’s that wet floor issue that comes courtesy of the male ‘splash zone.’

The Durinal is designed to solve both problems by replacing one regular lavatory with two urinals. Durinal creator Zodiac Aerospace says installing the toilets on planes can improve lavatory “cycle time” and cut down on male use of the conventional toilets, “Thus leaving them more hygienic for the ladies.”

 

 

 

On flights that aren’t full, Zodiac Aerospace’s new Eco Zlounge concept makes it possible for passengers to stretch out with a mechanism that allows the cushion part of the seat in front of a passenger to fold down, creating more leg room.

No doubt the extra space will come with an extra cost, but on long flights passengers may be willing to pay that cost.

See more finalists in my CNBC story, here.

Snaps from a visit to an airport bag well

As part of research for an upcoming story, I spent two days visiting the ‘bag well’ at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport finding out what happens to your checked lugagge once you hand it over to your airline.

The short version: your bag travels on a freeway-like conveyor system that sends the bag to and through a TSA explosives detection machine and then back to the airline for sorting so can be sent to your airplane and loaded onto it.  The bag tag is scanned multiple times along the way to keep tabs on its whereabouts.

Here are some snaps from my adventure. Stay tuned for the full story.

 

 

Greetings from … Boston Logan Int’l Airport

I don’t get to fly to or from Boston Logan International Airport that often. But I’m always pleased when I do.

If just for the lobsters, which can be purchased as toys or as meals for now or later.

I don’t get to fly Delta Comfort – the airline’s premium economy seats – all that often either, but I’m glad when my Delta status snags me one of those seats.

And on my Delta flight from Boston to Detroit this week, I found this note sticking out of the seat back pocket.

I made note of the cleaning crew’s work – and the airline’s gesture – and kept my note as a souvenir. But my seatmates didn’t. They left them behind – on the floor – for the next crew to cleaning crew to deal with..

 

 

SFO Museum explores history of United Airlines

On July 1, San Francisco International Airport will Kick off an exhibition exploring the history of United Airlines through over 300 artifacts and images.

The items date from the 1920s to the present and include model aircraft, cabin and cockpit equipment, meal service wares, promotional items and more, so here’s hoping you have a long layover at SFO.

Here are some pics from the exhibition. All images courtesy SFO Museum.

Mechanic roll-up tool set late 1920s. Courtesy SFO Museum

Ford Tri-motor passenger seat c. 1928. Courtesy SFO Museum

DC-3 Douglas Sleeper Transport sleeper service late 1930s

Flight dispatch clock. C. 1940

Flying the Main Line: A History of United Airlines is located post-security, in the Terminal 3 Boarding Area F Upper Level at San Francisco International Airport from July 1, 2017 to March 4, 2018.

Winning names for Qantas’s fleet of Dreamliners

 

Qantas’s inaugural Dreamliner flight will travel from Melbourne to Los Angeles – but not until December 2017.

But the carrier already has names for all eight 787-9 Dreamliners to be added to its fleet.

Customers sent in more than 60,000 suggestions and the public was asked to vote for the ‘keepers,’ which are:

Great Barrier Reef, Boomerang, Skippy, Waltzing Matilda, Uluru, Great Southern Land, Quokka and Dreamtime.

Some of those names are easy to connect with Australia; others need a little context, which Qantas has been kind enough to provide:

  • Great Barrier Reef:  an ecosystem comprising of reefs and hundreds of islands off coast of Queensland.
  • Boomerang: a traditional hunting tool of First Australians, with a bent or curved shape; also used in music and sport.
  • Skippy: an Australian television series featuring a young boy and his intelligent pet kangaroo ‘Skippy’.
  • Waltzing Matilda: Bush-ballad narrating the story of a swagman.
  • Uluru: A sacred monolith in the heart in Australia’s Northern Territory’s
  • Great Southern Land: A term used to describe Australia.
  • Quokka: A type of marsupial from the island of Rottnest near Perth, Australia.
  • Dreamtime: The English word used to describe First Australians’ understanding of the creation period.